Mel Murphy tapped for Port Commission by Mayor Ed Lee 

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With little fanfare, Mayor Ed Lee has nominated controversial developer Mel Murphy to the influential Port Commission. The limit of public notice appears to be this blink-and-you-miss-it statement on page 15 of next week's Board of Supervisors' agenda.

Murphy's long-rumored nomination appeared to be in jeopardy after the Department of Building Inspection shut down a Mission District project of Murphy's following revelations work was being done without proper permitting. This was an especially awkward situation as Murphy is the immediate past president of the Building Inspection Commission and may well have been the sitting president when work commenced on the project.

Lee earlier returned $2,150 in contributions from Department of Building Inspection employees obtained at fundraiser held in Murphy's home. City commissioners are prohibited from hitting up city workers for campaign contributions; seven DBI employees donated to Lee at Murphy's fund-raiser.

Finally, Murphy's name may be familiar to readers as an SF Weekly December cover story about home demolitions chronicled his attempts to "remodel" a Twin Peaks home from 854 square feet to 5,139 square feet -- after being denied a demolition permit for a plan that would have enlarged the home to 4,019 square feet.

Queried if Lee is confident everything was on the straight and narrow at Murphy's Mission District development, mayoral spokeswoman Christine Falvey stated that "all of our commissioners go through a thorough vetting process." Murphy was officially nominated for the post on Feb. 1.

His nomination will, in the near future, be shunted through the Board's Rules Committee, and a public hearing will be held.

It may be an interesting process. The Port Commission will soon be overseeing a number of high-profile waterfront developments including the 8 Washington project and the proposed Warriors arena. Folks none so amenable to those proposals can be expected to weigh in on this and other matters -- rest assured.

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